Filing of Divorce in Thailand

Divorce can be registered at the local district office (Khet in Bangkok, Amphoe in provinces) by spouses who mutually agree to end their marriage. This is known as an administrative divorce.

A Thai lawyer is recommended to help ensure the proceedings go smoothly. A legal professional will help you choose the right grounds for divorce, and file the correct documents.

Legal Requirements

If both parties agree to divorce, the process of filing a divorce in Thailand is relatively simple. The couple must go to the district office where the marriage was registered and present their copies of the marriage certificate, passports and Thai national ID cards.

A petition for divorce must state one or more of the grounds enumerated in section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand. It is important that the spouse seeking divorce is ready to prove those grounds in court. The parties must also come to an agreement on issues like custody of children, alimony and division of marital property.

Grounds for Divorce

Under Thai law, there are several grounds for divorce. Generally, a contested divorce involves a court order dissolving the marriage and making arrangements relating to division of marital or jointly owned assets, custody of children and if necessary, alimony settlements.

A divorce can also be dissolved by mutual consent without involving the court. This type of divorce is an administrative procedure and can be registered at the District Office ("Khet or Amphur"), provided the requirements are met. However, this type of divorce may not be recognized by other jurisdictions. Moreover, it can be complicated as both parties must agree on the reasons for divorce.

Filing a Petition for Divorce

If both parties to a divorce are not able to reach an agreement, one of the spouses must file a petition (using grounds) for dissolution of the marriage. The court will decide on matters such as the division of marital and/or jointly owned assets, custody of children and any necessary alimony settlements.

A contested divorce will require a greater time commitment, cost and physical court appearances than a divorce by mutual consent. It is highly recommended that you have a lawyer represent you in this case.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can help you to register an uncontested administrative divorce at the local district office (“Khet or Amphur”) provided all requirements are met.

Filing a Response to a Petition for Divorce

There are two ways to terminate a marriage in Thailand: an administrative divorce or a contested court divorce. An administrative divorce is suitable for couples that agree on all terms of the divorce or meet certain requirements, while a contested divorce is necessary when one party is not ready to dissolve the marriage or cannot satisfy the requirements for an administrative divorce.

A contested divorce before the Amphur requires agreement between spouses on matters like property division, custody of children and whether or not alimony will be paid. If both parties are able to agree on these terms the procedure at the Amphur will be shorter, less expensive and more convenient.

Filing a Counter-Petition for Divorce

If one spouse disagrees with the statements and demands in the divorce petition then he or she may file a counter-petition for divorce. Generally, the respondent will state his or her position on these issues in sections of a pre-printed court form that are numbered to correspond with the information and proposals found in the petition.

A divorce before the Amphur will require agreement between both spouses on the division of marital or jointly owned assets, custody of children and if and how much alimony is to be paid. A prenuptial agreement is often helpful in achieving this. A contested divorce will take longer and requires the representation of a Thai lawyer.

Filing a Final Decree for Divorce

The Divorce Decree is the legal document that formally ends the marriage. It includes important information regarding the custody of children, division of assets, spousal support and other related matters.

It also states the grounds for divorce and the date of registration. It should be signed by both parties. The divorce decree should include personal information, identifying details and identification numbers.

An uncontested administrative divorce is possible for registered couples who mutually agree to sever their marriage ties. This type of divorce is sometimes referred to as an administrative or mutual-consent divorce. It can be registered at any government District Office (Khet or Amphur) provided that certain requirements are met.

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